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tornadoesAdvance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado. Everyone should be aware of the signs of an approaching tornado.

Tornado danger signs can include: 

  • An approaching cloud of debris or a funnel cloud. Sometimes an approaching cloud of debris indicates a tornado, even if a funnel cloud is not visible. 
  • Still air. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. 
  • Thunderstorms. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.
In addition to conducting a tornado drill each year in late winter or early spring, your family can prepare for tornadoes by making sure you have the right equipment and supplies on hand. See the section above, on creating a home emergency kit. Finally, if you are caught in a tornado, remember that the best places to be are:

  • In a storm shelter specifically designed for that use (Click her for more information on storm shelters)- within the basement or outside the home entirely. Some companies manufacture pre-fab shelters that you drop into a hole in the ground, and that can even blend in with home landscaping. 

  • In a basement, away from the west and south walls. Hiding under a heavy work-table or under the stairs will protect the family from crumbling walls, chimneys, and large airborne debris falling into the cellar. Old blankets, quilts and an unused mattress will protect against flying debris, but they should be stored in the shelter area. Precious time can be lost by trying to find these items at the last minute. 

  • In a small, windowless, first floor, interior room, such as a closet or bathroom. The bathtub and commode are sometimes tied directly into the ground, and may be the only things left in place after the tornado. Getting into the bathtub with a couch cushion over you gives you protection on all sides, as well as an extra anchor to the foundation. Plumbing pipes may or may not help hold the walls together, but all the extra framing that it takes to put a bathroom together may make a big difference. If there is no downstairs bathroom and the closets are all packed with "stuff," a hall may be the best shelter. Put as many walls as you can between yourself and the tornado. In a pinch, put a metal trash over as much of you as you can. It will keep some flying debris from injuring you.

Wherever it is, the shelter should be well known by each member of the family. If you and your family conducts annual emergency drills (fire, tornado, etc), everyone will remember what to do and where to go when a tornado is approaching--automatically and without panic.

Tornado Sirens:

Barrington maintains a system of outdoor warning sirens too alert the public.  In the event that a tornado has been sighted and is approaching the community, the sirens will emit a steady tone.  The tone will last 3 to 5 minutes.  If you hear this tone during severe weather, seek shelter immediately. Shelter in a substantial building (i.e., not a shed) is preferred.  However, if you are stuck outdoors, seek shelter in a ditch, ravine, or other low lying area. 

Please note that the sirens are tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10:00 a.m.


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